NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope team has unveiled a new e-book titled “Hubble Focus: Our Amazing Solar System.” It kicks off a series of e-books that will showcase the telescope’s recent contributions to many different fields of astronomy.
Tip: Use an EPUB reader that supports embedded video to best enjoy this e-book.
Past books have taken readers into Hubble’s history and given a wide overview of the telescope and its mission. The Hubble Focus e-book series will be more topic-specific and emphasize current scientific investigations.
Within the past decade, Hubble has seen asteroid collisions, the disintegration of an icy comet and countless other encounters. Many of these observations were unexpected and help scientists understand how the solar system is changing, said Jennifer Wiseman, senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope.
“Many intriguing observations explored in these e-books were never planned,” she said. “That’s what makes these books especially captivating, because we’re talking about discoveries in recent years that we never dreamed were possible when Hubble launched.”
The first e-book is a stunning collection of high-resolution photos and interactive videos from the space telescope, with chapters covering topics ranging from weather on other planets to potentially habitable moons.
One focal point lies in the story of how Hubble’s role studying planets, moons, asteroids and comets has led and complemented the efforts of spacecraft and landers dispatched throughout the solar system.
In just one example, the Hubble telescope performed initial observations of the Pluto system and discovered four previously unknown moons. This information helped scientists plan the course and observations for NASA’s New Horizons mission to study Pluto and its satellites. Now, the New Horizons spacecraft is on its way past Pluto and deeper into the Kuiper Belt where it will observe a faraway object also recently discovered by Hubble.
“Hubble has a new and unique perspective studying these planetary bodies because we can see them as a whole,” Wiseman said. “Hubble has been used to study global storms on Mars and on the outer planets. It has even detected evidence for plumes of water vapor being expelled from the cracks in the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa, which paves the way for future probes to study the nature of Europa’s under-ice ocean.”
Wiseman said that the next installments in the Hubble Focus series are already in preparation and will cover all sorts of scientific areas Hubble has explored including galaxies, exoplanets and even the evolution of the universe.
The new e-book is compatible with most electronic devices and can be downloaded in multiple formats for free from:
For more information about Hubble, visit:
Hubble’s Cool Galaxy with a Hot Corona
Galaxy NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a whirl of color — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared.
But there is more in this galaxy than meets the Hubble eye. At 150 million light-years from Earth, astronomers highlighted NGC 6753 as one of only two known spiral galaxies that were both massive enough and close enough to permit detailed observations of their coronas. Galactic coronas are huge, invisible regions of hot gas that surround a galaxy’s visible bulk, forming a spheroidal shape. Coronas are so hot that they can be detected by their X-ray emission, far beyond the optical radius of the galaxy. Because they are so wispy, these coronas are extremely difficult to detect.
Galactic coronas are an example of telltale signs astronomers seek to help them determine how galaxies form. Despite the advances made in past decades, the process of galaxy formation remains an open question in astronomy. Various theories have been suggested, but since galaxies come in all shapes and sizes — including elliptical, spiral, and irregular — no single theory has so far been able to satisfactorily explain the origins of all the galaxies we see throughout the Universe.
For more information about Hubble, visit: www.nasa.gov/hubble
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency